The year 2020 will forever hold meaning because of a collective yearning for healing on two fronts. Globally, we desired a cure for a deadly virus killing millions of people around the world. In the U.S., we longed for liberation from racism and injustice after the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many other Black Americans.
For retired pastor Rev. Donald Dutton (B.D.’58), it was the latter that inspired him and his wife, Rev. Christiane Dutton, to make a $10,000 gift to McCormick’s Annual Fund.
The Duttons have made gifts to McCormick previously, but last year, Rev. Dutton asked himself, “In a time of BLM [Black Lives Matter] how can we support that movement and the need for necessary change?” The couple decided that being able to provide students with an opportunity to study and gain a good theological education was their way of supporting that critical change.
Rev. Dutton fondness for McCormick comes from memories of receiving solid biblical and theological teaching and being guided and challenged by professors. “I love the Bible and was being taught things that I had never seen before…I was given insight on how the Bible came about,” Rev. Dutton said of the professors he had at McCormick. “Church history courses opened my eyes to the broader church and all the things that had gone on.”
After graduating from McCormick, Rev. Dutton used the foundation he had received there and some scholarship funds to attend Heidelberg University in Germany where he met his wife and started a family. He returned to the United States, and from 1970 until 2000, he pastored Presbyterian churches in Iowa and Pennsylvania.
Rev. Christiane Dutton served as co-pastor with Rev. Donald Dutton at the Providence United Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh and served the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as an interim minister, supply pastor for Taize prayer and moderator for the Synod of the Trinity in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.
Being helped to grow in his faith at McCormick, Rev. Dutton sought to help the faithful in his congregations to grow in their faith, to work for unity among all Christians and to work for justice in society. “Every church I went to, I tried to build up the unity of the church,” said Rev. Dutton, who now lives near Boston. His gift to McCormick will help a new generation of seminarians to do the same.